Movie review: “The Martian”

By Tiffany Lin | VTV Editor

        Matt Damon gets lost in space yet again in the new movie, “The Martian,” which is based on a novel by Andy Weir. “The Martian” follows the journey of Damon’s character, Mark Watney, and his struggles to survive on Mars after his crew abandons him on Mars during an emergency evacuation, assuming he is dead. But Mark Watney is in fact not dead, so he must find a way to survive on a barren planet using only his limited supplies, his wits, and a lot of duct tape. Meanwhile, NASA finds out he is still alive and is faced with the challenge of bringing him back. Director Ridley Scott deftly weaves these threads together in a compelling movie that is definitely worth your time.

Mark Watney’s situation could potentially create an extremely depressing film, but the witty dialogue creates a fun atmosphere that keeps the action going at a quick pace. The constant suspense is also another thing that makes “The Martian” such an effective film. Watney’s constant struggle is incredibly gripping as we watch him painstakingly map out his strategy for survival, only to have it disrupted again and again. The audience never knows whether things will work out in his favor or not, but when he is successful, it is incredibly satisfying.

        Not only is the story in “The Martian” great, but it is also a feast for the senses. From the opening shot, it is already clear that “The Martian” is a visually satisfying movie. The combination of Dariusz Wolski’s masterful cinematography and the computer-generated landscapes of Mars create an ethereal atmosphere. The score, from composer Harry Gregson-Williams, also adds even more depth to the overall experience of the film. His majestic score is the perfect match to the windswept landscape of Mars and evokes a sense of desolation. In addition, the film tastefully uses several classic disco songs to complement the events that are unfolding onscreen.

        “The Martian” definitely lives up to the considerable hype. Although it doesn’t necessarily include all the details from the book (such is the nature of movie adaptations), it does an adequate job of recreating the parts that it does include and is generally quite faithful in its retelling of Mark Watney’s story. If you want to watch a visually arresting and well-written movie in the same vein as Apollo 13, go watch “The Martian”, which is in theaters now.

Matt Damon as Mark Watney in The Martian, in theaters now. (Photo: 20th Century Fox)